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eRA Glossary of Terms

Send additions (word/phrase with definition) and/or requests for a definition of word or phrase to Ask eRA at askera@od.nih.gov, entering "Glossary" on Subject line.



Public Health Service (PHS) form 2271. Statement of Appointment form for Trainees.


See PHS 398.


See Standard Form 424 Research & Related [SF424 (R&R)].


Form 901. Request from an Institute or Center (IC) to change selected, limited fields within an eRA System record for pending, competing grant applications prior to award.


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Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)

Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grants (R15s) support small research projects in the biomedical and behavioral sciences conducted by students and faculty in health professional schools, and other academic components that have not been major recipients of NIH research grant funds.


Something that is accessible can be used by persons with disabilities. In the context of computing, this generally means that the software or device should be compatible with access aids, and should be able to transform itself into a needed format.

Accession Number

Related to electronic submission of applications, the Accession number is the Agency tracking number provided for the application after Agency validations.

Account Management

Often referred to as "Account Administration." The Account Administration module provides institution officials the ability to create and manage user accounts associated with an institution. Principle Investigator (PI) and reviewer accounts are validating internally to ensure data quality and security.

Accounting Transaction Release System (ATRS)

A module that sends transactions to accounting system(s) upon a grant award. ATRS is a background Oracle process that processes eRA grant award information on a daily basis. ATRS accepts grant information from the eRA database and creates three flat files. The first file contains NIH current-year award data. The second file contains NIH prior year award data. The third file contains non-NIH awards. These files are all transferred to the Central Accounting System (CAS) within the NIH Office of Financial Management (NIH/OFM). ATRS also produces a file containing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) award data that is transferred to a separate location and is picked up by CDC directly to feed its accounting process. ATRS is flexible so that additional agencies’ data can be transmitted to the appropriate accounting systems.

Active Grants

A grant that meets the following criteria is defined as an "active grant":

1. Today's date is between the budget start and end dates.

2. The grant has an eRA System (IMPAC II) application status code of "Awarded. Non-fellowships only." or "Awarded. Fellowships only."

Activity Code

A three-digit code assigned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) identifying the type of award mechanism (e.g., RO1 is a research project grant). General categories include research grants, contracts, training, and fellowships. Research grants can be subdivided into research projects, research centers, and other research grants. Major series are: F--fellowship; K--research career; N--research contracts; P--research programs and centers; R--research projects; S--research-related programs; T--training; U--cooperative agreements, and Y--interagency agreements.


Someone or something, outside the system, that interacts with the system.


See Administrative Database.

Administrative Database (ADB)

The NIH Administrative Database (ADB) is used for the procurement of goods and services. ADB generates accounting transactions that are processed by the Central Accounting System (CAS).

Administrative Official (AO)

An Administrative Official (AO) reviews the grant application for accuracy before the Signing Official (SO) submits the final application to the NIH. Depending on the institution workflow process, it is possible for the SO and AO to be the same person. AOs can reside in either the central research administration office or academic departments. They can create additional AO and PI accounts; however, AOs are not authorized to transmit applications to the NIH.

Advanced Person Search

The Advanced Person Search is a common function in both Peer Review and Committee Management. It is used to search for potential reviewers by their area of expertise, specified degree, academic rank, gender, and/or minority status.

Annual Payback Activities Certification (APAC)

Annual Payback Activities Certifications (APACS) for PHS 6031-1 are notices used by trainees to report on their payback activities annually until their payback obligation is fulfilled.


See Administrative Official.


See Authorized Organization Representative.


See Annual Payback Activities Certification.


See Application Program Interface.

App. or Apps.

Abbreviation for Grant Application(s); not to be confused with eRA business area software applications.


Supplemental material that an applicant can include with a grant application, such as publications, photographs, manuscripts accepted for publication, abstracts, patents, surveys, clinical protocols, etc.

Application Program Interface (API)

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are stored procedures to update the eRA database from internal eRA modules and from IC-developed extension applications. The APIs implement the various business rules that apply to eRA data elements.


See Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA).


A piece of information that is produced, modified, or used by a process; defines an area of responsibility; and is subject to version control.


See Accounting Transaction Release System.

Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)

An AOR submits a grant on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. AORs have the authority to sign grant applications and the required certifications and/or assurances that are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the application process. Term used on Grants.gov. Also called a Signing Official.


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A reviewed and approved release of artifacts that constitutes an agreed basis for further evolution or development and that can be changed only through a formal procedure, such as change management and configuration control.

Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC)

A standing committee that reviews an IC's intramural scientific mission. The board usually meets twice a year, depending on the IC.


See Business and Planning Office.


See Board of Scientific Counselors.


An unwanted and unintended property of a program or piece of hardware, especially one that causes it to malfunction. Antonym of feature. For example, “There’s a bug in the editor: it writes things out backwards.” The identification and removal of bugs in a program is called “debugging”.

Business and Planning Office (BPO)

The office within the Office of Research Information Systems (ORIS) that is responsible for planning and financial management of the eRA Program.


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See Central Accounting System.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number

Federal programs are assigned a number in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), which is referred to as the "CFDA number." The CFDA database helps the Federal government track all programs it has domestically funded.


See Configuration Control Board.


See Central Contractor Registration (CCR).


See Compact Disk.

Center for Scientific Review (CSR)

An NIH center that conducts initial peer review of most investigator-initiated competing applications for research grants and fellowships. CSR also receives Public Health Service research and research training applications and refers them to PHS components for possible funding. The CSR website: http://cms.csr.nih.gov/

Central Accounting System (CAS)

The NIH Central Accounting System (CAS) processes all accounting transactions for the NIH. It produces a wide range of reports that detail spending within the Agency. The Office of Financial Management (OFM) uses these reports for internal and external reporting. Financial reports are generated for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Public Health Service.

Central Contractor Registration (CCR)

The Central Contractor Registration (CCR) is the main vendor database for the U.S. Federal Goverment. Grant-applicant institutions need to register with the CCR to apply for a grant through Grants.gov. The CCR stores organizational information, allowing Grants.gov to verify the organization's identity and to pre-fill organizational information on its grant application. Institutions must have a DUNS number to register in the CCR.

CFDA Number

See Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).


See electronic Competitive Grant Application Process (eCGAP).

CGAP Receipt & Referral

See eReferral.


Referring to electronic submission of grant applications, an application that is submitted again through Grants.gov after errors detected by validations in Commons have been corrected is called a "changed/corrected application."

Citrix Server Solution

Referring to electronic submission of grant application, the Citrix server solution is a temporary solution that Grants.gov and NIH have implemented to assist Macintosh users in using Grants.gov's PureEdge(TM) software to submit their applications. PureEdge currently is not compatible with Macintosh computers. A Citrix-server connection allows Macintosh users to remotely launch a Windows session on their own machines by using the free Citrix client application. While connected to the server, Mac users can develop their grant application using the PureEdge forms. Applicants have to download and install the free Citrix client application to work on the SF424 (R&R) application package with the specific grant for which they are applying.


Closeout is a procedure to officially conclude a grant. See also Grants Closeout Module.


See Committee Management and Configuration Management.


See Conflict of Interest.


Collexis® is a tool (also the name of the company that builds the tool) used in information retrieval and mining. Besides the standard data and information retrieval capabilities of search engines, Collexis technology also is able to discover relationships between elements of different information items (via clustering and/or aggregation) and thus uncover important implicit knowledge. See http://www.collexis.com.

Committee Management (CM)

Committee Management (CM) is a business area and an eRA module. CM implements the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) guidelines regulating federal advisory committees to ensure a balance of scientists, lay persons, races, and geographical areas.

CM is used for the establishment, management, and utilization of all chartered advisory committees with more than 4,000 members with fixed-term appointments, as well as for Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs) with as many as 10,000 reviewers for individual meetings. CM also is used for the appointment of members to these committees. 

The numerous ad hoc and pre-programmed reports provided by CM are used by various reporting mechanisms including the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, Congress, and the President.

The CM module provides some of the following functionality: tracks details of existing committees, creates newly chartered committees and subcommittees records, and tracks each committee’s affiliations and the committee's status of existing nominees or currently serving members; queries the database to determine a person's availability to serve on a  Committee and to view person information or add the person to the database; develops committee membership by entering requests for nominations, recording the status of a nominee, tracking the qualifications of an appointee/member through the nomination and appointment process, and tracking the review process that clears financial interest documents and Conflict of Interest (COI) waivers for committee nominees/members and meeting attendees; prepares the nomination slate package for submission to the various organizational approving officers for clearance; and sets up review meetings, meeting rosters, meeting agenda details, combining subcommittee meetings with parent meetings, and facilitates the generation of the mandated Federal Register Notice.

Committee Management Web Module (CM Web)

This J2EE, Web-based designed Committee Management module provides data entry, basic ad hoc querying, and reporting capabilities associated with establishing, amending and re-chartering committees/subcommittees, the nomination and appointment of members to these committees/subcommittees, the managing of people data, and maintenance of the data associated with committee meetings and the Federal Register Notice. Complete functionality for CM not yet available in CM Web.

Common Account Number (CAN)

The identification number of the specific IC account to be charged for the acquisition of supplies, services or equipment. This is sometimes referred to as accounting and appropriation data, or a fund cite.

Common Mailers

The Common Mailer system was developed to send mailers to users upon certain events. Common Mailers and Resume of Transactions (ROTs) will be replaced with an eNotification system.


Commons is an NIH portal where applicants can, once they are registered, view the status of their application and check assembled applications. They also can view summary statements and score letters.

A Web-based, J2EE system, the Commons enables data exchange between the external research community and NIH. Only registered organizations can access the working modules. Commons consists of several modules, including: Status, eSNAP, X-Train, IAR, FSR, and Account Administration. Also called eRA Commons and NIH eRA Commons.

Commons Status

See Status.

Compact Disk

Compact Disks (CDs) with grant images and other meeting materials are created for reviewers. From the Peer Review module, Scientific Review Administrators (SRAs) can order custom CDs for reviewers. Reviewers then receive a CD with application images to be reviewed minus any applications for which the reviewer has a Conflict of Interest. The CD includes: grant images for each of the applications (two sort orders are available); program announcements and RFAs; reviewer guides from the granting organization; a CD users guide; Adobe users guide; template for R01 reviews (if research projects are in the application list); and a self-starting copy of Adobe.

Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP)

A publicly accessible database of federally funded biomedical research projects. CRISP enables users to research scientific concepts and identify projects and investigators from a database of awards funded since 1972.

Configuration Control Board (CCB)

The Configuration Control Board reviews change requests to the eRA processing systems and the baselined requirements of future software releases. It assesses risk of action and inaction as well as cost and scheduling impact for each request before a decision is made. The CCB comprises branch chiefs representing each eRA functional area. The board, which is chaired by the project management branch chief, meets weekly.

Configuration Management (CM)

A supporting process whose purpose is to identify, define, and baseline items; control modifications and releases of these items; report and record status of the items and modification requests; ensure completeness, consistency and correctness of the items; and control storage, handling and delivery of the items.

Conflict of Interest (COI)

Conflicts of Interest (COIs) are determined by regulations established to assure that individuals having the ability to influence funding decisions have no personal interest in the outcome. The eRA Peer Review system implements automatic COI checking.

Consortium Agreement

A Consortium Agreement is a formalized agreement whereby a research project is carried out by the grantee and one or more other organizations that are separate legal entities.


The third phase of the Rational Unified Process (RUP), in which the software is brought from an executable architectural baseline to the point at which it is ready to be transitioned to the user community.


Also called a "Progress Report." A Continuation is a non-competing application for an additional funding/budget period within a previously approved budget period. It is submitted on a PHS 2590 form. NIH allows electronic (eSNAP) or paper submission (SNAP).

Cool Tools

‘Cool Tools’ are a variety of tools available from the internal eRA website (IMPAC II) that were developed to help users to solve some particular problem or at the suggestion of a user who needed some help retrieving information. These are not considered eRA modules.


See National Advisory Council.

Council Round

At the NIH, there are at least three, and sometimes four, council rounds each fiscal year: October, January, May, and sometimes August. Application receipt dates, initial review dates, and council review dates all fall within one of these council rounds. Incoming grant applications all are assigned to a council round.

Credential Field

Regarding electronic submission, the Credential field is on the SF424 (R&R) form under the Senior/Key Person Profile component where the Principal Investigator/Project Director's User ID in Commons has to be entered. This is a required field for NIH and other Public Health Service agencies.

Credential Provider

Regarding electronic submission, the Credential Provider is an organization that validates for Grants.gov the electronic identity of an individual through electronic credentials, PINS, passwords and PKI certificates.


See Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects. See also CRISP on the Web and CRISP Plus.

CRISP and Subproject Rollover

The CRISP Rollover is a nightly batch process that allows Subproject, Abstract, and Project Term data to roll from the current support year to a future support year within an individual grant family. The rolling over of these components saves the user from re-keying information that may be the same from one support year to the next.

CRISP Coding

CRISP Coding is the process in which the CRISP Thesaurus is used to apply key terms to Projects/Proposals.

CRISP on the Web

A Web module providing the public with the ability to search federally funded biomedical research projects conducted at universities, hospitals, and other research institutions. As additional HHS OPDIVs and Federal agencies are integrated in eRA, their awards also can be available through CRISP. Users use CRISP on the Web to search for scientific concepts, emerging trends and techniques, or to identify specific projects and/or investigators.


An internal eRA search tool that allows NIH staff to perform keyword searches of grant titles, abstracts, and summary statements of all grant applications, including unfunded projects not available through CRISP on the Web. CRISP Plus performs basic query and free-form text searches, searches based upon scientific terms assigned to grants, structured field searches, and advanced text searches. Once a set of grants has been retrieved, users can view the grant’s abstract, summary statement, or administrative details.

CRISP Thesaurus

The CRISP Thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary used to assign indexing terms or keywords to research projects. The CRISP Thesaurus is also a tool for selecting the appropriate terminology when querying the database.


See Center for Scientific Review.

Customizable Checklists

eRA has developed Customizable Checklists as a means for allowing different granting organizations and business areas to require its users to respond to pertinent questions, such as whether required documentation has been submitted. The checklists have two parts: enterprise-wide checklist items determined by policy; and organization-specific checklist items. This flexible and configurable business object is ideal for cross-government business processes in which both centralized policy and organization-specific variations must be accommodated.


One complete pass through the four phases of the Rational Unified Process (RUP): inception, elaboration, construction and transition.


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Data Mart

Data Mart is an eRA data warehouse. It provides strategic architectural implementation of the reporting infrastructure for grants-related information. This information includes, but is not limited to: grants information; portfolios of grants management and program users; and grant financial information. The end goal of Data Mart is to reduce the query load on the online transaction system by organizing information that is geared for reporting purposes.

Data Stream

A sequence of digitally encoded signals used to represent information in transmission.

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

The DUNS number is a unique nine-digit number assigned by Dun and Bradstreet Information Services. It is recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of more than 92 million businesses worldwide. Grants.gov requires a DUNS number for registration. For applicants, the DUNS number in the application must match the DUNS number in the Institutional Profile in Commons.

Data Warehouse

A generic term for a system for storing, retrieving and managing large amounts of any type of data. Data warehouse software often includes sophisticated compression and hashing techniques for fast searches, as well as advanced filtering.




See Division of Extramural Activities.


Division of Extramural Activity Services.

Deferred application

Delayed review of an application, usually because additional information is needed to complete the review or because the review has been compromised in some way.


An output from a process that has a value, material or otherwise, to a customer or other stakeholder.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities.

HHS is the largest grant-making agency in the federal government, providing some 60,000 grants per year. HHS' Medicare program is the nation's largest health insurer, handling more than 900 million claims per year.

The NIH is an operating division (OPDIV) of the DHHS.

Disaggregated application

An application is disaggregated when a portion (or subproject) is funded as a separate grant.

Disease Category

Disease Category refers to the approximately 230 categories used by NIH headquarters (referred to as Building 1) when reporting to Congress. Disease Categories are broad definitions. A Disease Category may consist of one or more scientific codes. For example, the Disease Category “Cancer” may consist of many scientific codes, such as Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, Melanoma, Colon Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and Leukemia. Some ICs refer to Disease Categories as budget categories, reports, and budget reports.

Division of Extramural Activities

Divisions of Extramural Activities (DEAs) are organizational components of most NIH ICs that fund grants. DEA manages and provides policy direction for grants, contracts, training awards, and the Institute's Advisory Council.

Document Service

There currently is an eRA document service that generates PDF documents from a combination of one or more sources, including word processing files, text files, and data extracted from the eRA database. eRA is planning to modernize this custom-built document service with a flexible document architecture. Over time, this flexible document architecture will be used to produce a flexible and easily maintainable Notice of Grant Award (NGA). See also eRecords Management.

Drill Down

(v) In information technology, to move from summary information to detailed data by focusing in on something. To drill down through a series of folders, for example, on a desktop means to go through the hierarchy of folders to find a specific file or to click through drop-down menus in a GUI. To drill down through a database is to access information by starting with a general category and moving through the hierarchy of file to record to field.

(n) Spelled drilldown. The act of focusing in. For example, "He got the information he needed through a drilldown of the database."


See Data Universal Numbering System.


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E-Business Point of Contact (POC)

An E-Business POC is the single person responsible for the administration and management of grant activities in his/her organizqation. E-Business POCs give representatives of their organization the privilege to submit grant applications through Grants.gov.

E-Notification Event Triggers

Logic (computer code) associated with the event that is initiated when an event occurs.

E-Notification Events

An occurrence in eRA that requires a notification, either to another system or user. E-Notification events can be initiated by the eRA system or end-user. Recipients of e-notifications can be internal or external to eRA. Currently, all notifications within eRA are batch notifications, which are compiled, grouped and dispatched nightly. eRA also supports summary notifications.


Electronic grant application.

Early Notification System (ENS)

The Early Notification System (ENS) is used for early notification of planned announcements, disseminated so that other granting organizations can review proposed solicitations and either comment or express interest prior to official announcement. ENS is not an eRA module and currently has no interface to eRA. An enhanced system is required that generates the Request For Announcement (RFA) and Program Announcement (PA), and that is fully integrated with eRA modules.

Earned Value

A measure of the value of work performed so far. Earned value uses original estimates and progress-to-date to show whether the actual costs incurred are on budget and whether the tasks are ahead or behind the baseline plan.


See Electronic Council Book.


See Electronic Competitive Grant Application Process.

Edit Checker

Several eRA client/server applications use a common edit checker which must be migrated to J2EE. Instead of each business area building its own mechanism for implementing business rules, the common edit checker provides a common means for different business areas to define their own business rules. In the J2EE environment, there are commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) rules engines that will be evaluated for replacement of the custom edit checker. 


See Electronic Financial Status Report.


See Employer Identification Number (EIN).


The second phase of Rational Unified Process (RUP) process where the product vision and its architecture are defined.

Electronic Competitive Grant Application Process (eCGAP)

eCGAP is a system-to-system transaction originating from the grantee institutions or service provider, which provides a system for the applicant to enter the appropriate information and upload documents and then converts the data into the proper electronic format to send to the NIH via the eRA eXchange. Data from the grant application are validated based on business rules and saved in the eRA database, and the grant image is available in the eRA Grant Folder. Electronic grant application submissions now are sent to the eRA eXchange through Grants.gov, the government-wide portal for grant information and submission.

Electronic Council Book (ECB)

An internal and external system for providing access to summary statements, percentiles, priority scores, and other data for applications going to council. The external version of the ECB lets council members approve awards early for fundable applications with no special concerns.

Electronic Financial Status Report (eFSR)

Electronic Financial Status Reports (eFSRs) are transactions transmitted via the eRA eXchange. See also Financial Status Report.

Electronic Non-Competing Award Process (eNAP)

eRA plans to provide for the electronic submission of all non-competing grant applications, not just simplified renewals, via the Commons and via the business-to-business eRA eXchange. As opposed to the Electronic Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (eSNAP), the Electronic Non-Competing Award Process (eNAP) will handle complex application types, including program projects.

Electronic Research Administration (eRA)

The electronic Research Administraion is NIH's infrastructure to electronically receive, review, monitor and administer NIH grant awards to biomedical investigators worldwide. It also is used by other Department Health & Human Services operating divisions. Website: http://era.nih.gov/.

Electronic Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (eSNAP)

eSNAP is an eRA Commons module that allows principal investigators (PIs) to prepare and administrative officials (AOs) from grantee organizations to electronically approve and submit information consistent with an Application for Continuation of a Public Health Service Grant (PHS Form 2590). The eSNAP system enables extramural grantees to submit an electronic version of the SNAP Type 5 (non-competing) progress report through a Web interface. Business process changes that are unique to eSNAP include: Progress Report Submission; Research Accomplishment & Other Significant Changes; Citations; Vertebrate Animal IACUC and Human Subjects IRB Approval Dates; Key Personnel Report; Delegation of submission Authority; and Inclusion Enrollment Reports for Clinical Research.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service. Beginning October 30, 2005, the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) validates the EIN of each new and updating CCR registrant against IRS records, a step that takes one to two business days. Also known as "FEIN" or "Federal Employer Identification Number."


See Electronic Non-Competing Award Process.

End User

The person who uses a computer application, as opposed to those who developed or support it. The end user may or may not know anything about computers, how they work, or what to do if something goes wrong. End users do not usually have administrative responsibilities or privileges.

End users are certain to have a different set of assumptions than the developers who created the application.


An eRA system module that provides automatic notification to internal and external users regarding changes, due dates and other pertinent information for applications and grants. eNotification provides a common automated approach to sending mailers and emails based on events. An authorized user(s) in each IC can add additional roles or individuals to receive an alert, or remove that individual or role from an event alert list. The mailer can be customized without programmer involvement. A user can access his notifications for all business areas through single 'event queue' interface. This functionality is especially important with electronic grant processing, since eNotification (rather than a physical document) will serve as a stimulus to drive workflow throughout the grant life cycle.

eNotification System

This eRA system module provides automatic notification to internal and external users alike regarding changes, due dates and other pertinent information regarding applications and grants.


See Early Notification System.


See Extramural Program Management Committee.


See Electronic Research Administration.

eRA Commons

A Web-based, J2EE system that enables data exchange between the external research community and NIH. Only registered organizations can access the working modules. The eRA Commons consists of several modules, including: Status, eSNAP, X-Train, IAR, FSR, and Account Administration. Also called Commons.

eRA eXchange

The eRA eXchange is NIH’s business-to-government system for the transfer of grant applications and other grant-related data. The eXchange enables authorized grantee institution or service-provider systems to transmit grant applications as Extensible Markup Language (XML) data streams to NIH. Likewise, the eXchange allows NIH to send XML-based data streams to these service providers and institutions. The eXchange uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) with attachments (SwA) over Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer (HTTPS).

eRA Grant Snapshot

A consolidated view of grant-related information on one report. Currently, the Grant Snapshot displays the following sections: general grant information, Peer and Council Review data, Administrative Codes, Administrative IC Assignments, Multi IC/PCC data, PI Information, Institution data, Pre-award Budget data, Award Detail data, Award Budget data, Award Budget by CAN data, CFY Line Item data, SRG and Council Meeting data.

eRecords Management and eFileRoom

This is an eRA initiative to have the electronic grant folder to replace the paper 'official file.' This will involve saving reports that are generated for the official file and making them accessible via the eGrant folder. Extensive analysis must be done. Scanning of legacy files will be involved; as well as the ability for ICs to scan correspondence for upload to IC grant folder. See also Document Service.


Unlike the paper-based receipt and referral process, which is heavily dependent on data entry and paper files being passed from one group of processors to another, eReferral was designed to expedite processing with streamlined processes for electronically submitted grant applications. After the PI and Signing Official have verified the application, it will appear on the First Contact Workload hit list. RR First Contact staff then performs the “first contact” quality assurance (QA) function with a quick scan of the data that has been populated by the eReferral exchange processor. In addition, First Contact staff initiates a system-driven, quality-control check for duplicate data, applications that exceed NIH-defined budget constraints and revision limits, or presence of the PI on the Office of Research Integrity file. Cleared applications are automatically passed to the assistant chiefs’ workload module for breakout into review groups, after which the application is passed on to the Referral Officer workload or to the IC for assignment. Referral Officers find their assigned applications by using their workload screen, and proceed with referral to an IRG and assignment to an IC. This eliminates the need for sending the application to the print shop for scanning and reproduction.


An infrastructure component being developed by eRA for the electronic receipt of a variety of external and internal requests, such as requests for supplements, change of institute, and change of PI.


Regarding electronic submission, an error is any condition that causes the application to be deemed unacceptable for further consideration. Generally, errors will indicate significant inaccuracies, inconsistencies, omissions or incorrect formatting. The error needs to be corrected by the applicant and the application submitted again as a changed/corrected application via Grants.gov.


See Electronic Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process.

Expiration Date

Refers to the date that a Funding Opportunity Announcement expires. For electronic applications, the date is prepopulated when the applicant downloads an application package from Grants.gov. However, applicants should not go strictly by this date because it may not apply to their particular situation. For example, the date may reflect the submission date for AIDS applications and the applicant may be submitting a non-AIDS application that is due earlier. In this case, the prepopulated date has no bearing on the application and the applicant should not be concerned by it.

eXtensible Markup Language (XML)

An industry-standard markup language that allows you to define the tags (markup) needed to identify the data and text in XML documents. J2EE deployment descriptors are expressed in XML.

Extramural IT Steering Committee (Ext-ITSC)

The NIH Extramural Information Technology (IT) Steering Committee purview includes eRA and all Institute and Center grants and contract-management systems.

Extramural Program Management Committee (EPMC)

An NIH committee composed of heads of IC extramural administrative divisions that helps define extramural policy.


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F Award

Fellowship award. See NIH's Types of Grant Programs Web page for details.


See Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A).


See Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)

General costs incurred by a grantee institution during the conduct of research that cannot be identified specifically with a particular project or program. Formerly called "indirect costs."


See Federal Demonstration Partnership.


See Federal Business Opportunities.

Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)

A law that regulates federal advisory committees to ensure an appropriate balance of scientists and lay persons and minority, geographical, and racial representation.

Federal Business Opportunities

Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps.gov) is the single government point-of-entry (GPE) for federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet. Through one portal --FedBizOpps (FBO) -- commercial vendors seeking federal markets for their products and services can search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community.

Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP)

The FDP is a cooperative effort among 11 federal research agencies and 65 universities and non-profit research centers piloting new eRA systems to increase productivity by reducing the administrative burden on investigators, while maintaining effective stewardship of federal funds.

Federal Register

An official, daily publication that communicates proposed and final regulations and legal notices issued by federal agencies, including announcements of the availability of funds for financial assistance. Peer Review Meetings and Council Meetings at which grant applications are to be reviewed must be announced in advance in the Federal Register.


Federal Employer Identification Number. See Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Financial Operating Plan (FOP)

Prepared by Committee Management, the Financial Operating Plan (FOP) is a method of capturing the total costs related to the operation and staff costs of committees for the current fiscal year as well as an estimation of the next fiscal year’s costs. This information is used when preparing the Annual Comprehensive Review (ACR) Report.

Financial Status Report (FSR)

The Financial Status Report (FSR) is a statement of expenditures sent to the sponsor of a grant or contract. The report is mandatory for continued funding of the grant. The FSR is prepared and submitted by Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) on behalf of the Principal Investigator (PI). The schedule for submitting required financial reports is generally specified in the award documents of a grant or contract. FSRs are usually due at the end of both the Budget Period and Project Period within 90 days after the expiration date, and may be required at interim times as well. With the eRA Commons, the annual and final FSR can be submitted electronically. The eRA FSR module is used by both internal and external users to submit their financial reports electronically.


A “fingerprint” is a representation of the results from the information retrieval and mining, using the Collexis tool.


See Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).


See Financial Operating Plan.

FOP Operational Data Store (FODS)

A data-mart outside of the eRA System of meeting-related expenses, which is maintained and supported by CSR.

Foreign Component

The performance of any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside the United States, either by the grantee or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended.


See Financial Status Report.

Functional Group

An advisory group to eRA comprising members of an NIH functional group committee that corresponds to an eRA module (e.g., the NIH Grants Management Advisory Committee and the GM module).


Waffle for “features” or “function”. The capabilities or behaviors of a program, part of a program, or system, seen as the sum of its features. Roughly, “the things it can do." Generally used in a comparative sense, e.g., “The latest update adds some useful functionality."

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

Grant.gov's terminology for what NIH refers to as Program Announcements (PAs) and Request for Applications (RFAs). A formal announcement by a Federal agency of a grant funding opportunity. NIH's grant opportunity announcements appear as FOAs on the Grants.gov Web site and as PAs or RFAs in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.


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See Grants Closeout Module and Closeout.


See Grants Management.


See Grants Management Advisory Committee.


See Grants Management Officer.


See Grants Management Specialist.


See Grants Payment Management.

Grant Closeout Module (GCM)

Closeout is a procedure to officially conclude a grant. The eRA Grant Closeout (GCM) module provides the means to electronically manage the conclusion of a grant. Some of the following functions can be performed using GCM: identify and capture grants eligible for closeout; assign a closeout specialist to the grant; view grant status information to make closeout determination; mark grant status open or pending; maintain closeout data (track and request required closeout documents from grantee institutions, documentation received/not received); check for the Financial Status Report (FSR) and access the FSR (via hyperlink); access the Payment Management System (via hyperlink); generate automatic emails to grantee that documentation is needed (90 and 120 days after end date); check PI other support; create a Federal Records Center (FRC) report including the ability to batch update accession number, box number and FRC sent date; and create official check sheet for a grant.

eRA is currently developing an enhancement to Commons Status to allow grantees to submit required closeout reports and documentation with entry of data and the upload of documents.This module provides the means to electronically manage the conclusion of a grant.

Grant Folder

The electronic Grant Folder is a collection of grant-related documents and reports available online.

Grant Snapshot

A consolidated view of grant-related information on one report. Currently, the Grant Snapshot displays the following sections: general grant information, peer and council review data, administrative codes, administrative IC assignments, multi IC/PCC data, PI information, institution data, pre-award budget data, award detail data, award budget data, award budget by CAN data, budget line item data for the current fiscal year, SRG and council meeting data.

Grant Update Module (GUM)

A component of the GM, ICO, and REV modules that permits authorized users to make data changes in several dozen fields.


An institution that receives a grant or cooperative agreement and assumes legal, financial, and scientific responsibility and accountability for the funds and performance of the activity. In certain cases, a grantee may be an individual.

Grants Management (GM)

Grants Management (GM) is the business area in each IC that funds grants and that oversees the business aspects of grants. GM staff ensures that both the granting agency and grantees meet all requirements of laws, regulations, and policies. GM is the focal point for all business and policy activities associated with the negotiation, award, and administration of grants and for interpreting and applying grant policies.

Grants Management is also the name of the eRA internal module that allows granting organizations the ability to award, revise, release, and obligate grant awards. The three main functional areas of GM are for making awards, assigning grants and viewing workload. 

The Award portion of the GM application provides the following functionality: ability to process all award types; maintain budget information for all support years; ability to import budget information from local spreadsheets; link to the Indirect Cost Rate file; create administrative supplements; maintain PI information; generate and store a Notice of Grant Award (NGA); add organization-specific "terms and conditions;" email NGA to grantee; and transmit obligations to financial systems. 

The Assignment portion of GM allows for the assignment of an individual or group of grants to a Grants Management Officer (GMO) or Grants Management Specialist (GS) either online or in batch using custom rules. The Workload portion helps specialists view and organize their workload of applications designated "to-be-paid." Workload also can be used by managers to view the grant workload status for a group of specialists or for their entire Branch.

Grants Management Advisory Committee (GMAC)

A committee that advises the Extramural Program Management Committee (EPMC) on matters relating to grants administration.

Grants Management Officer (GMO)

A Grants Management Officer (GMO) is an IC staff member who ensures that both the granting agency and grantees meet all requirements of laws, regulations, and policies. A GMO is responsible for the business management aspects of grants and cooperative agreements, including review, negotiation, award, and administration, and for the interpretation of grants administration policies and provisions. Only GMOs are authorized to obligate NIH to the expenditure of funds and permit changes to approved projects on behalf of the NIH. Each NIH Institute and Center that awards grants has one or more GMOs with responsibility for particular programs or awards.

Grants Management Specialist (GMS)

A Grants Management Specialist (GS) is an agent of the Grants Management Officer (GMO) and is assigned responsibility for the day-to-day management of a portfolio of grants. The Grants Specialist is the IC staff member who is the focal point for all business and policy activities associated with the negotiation, award, and administration of a grant or cooperative agreement, and who interprets and applies grants policies.

Grants Payment Management

Grants Payment Management (GPM) is a subset of the IC Operations (ICO) module. GPM allows authorized users to set "to-be-paid" codes and "intent-to-pay-amounts" for detailed reporting and budget tracking. GPM's list of reports for Finance and Budget business users has been designed to be used by budget officers and administrators responsible for reporting grant information to Congress. The budget reports have been classified into two primary sections, Status of Obligations and Detail Reports, for tracking obligations and reconciliations of data between IMPAC II and OFM/CAS.

Grants Technical Assistant (GTA)

While Grants Technical Assistant (GTA) is a role in multiple business area, the definition here refers to the GTA role in the Peer Review business area. The efficient and effective management of review group requires the cooperative efforts of the Scientific Review Administrator (SRA) and the Grants Technical Assistants (GTAs). The SRA works with the GTA in preparing nomination slates, in processing, assigning and mailing applications to reviewers, in preparing for and managing meetings, and in preparing summary statements. The GTA's duties include processing applications promptly after they are received in the SRG office; preparing and mailing applications and supporting materials to reviewers; making arrangements for and taking budget and action notes at SRG meetings; entering accurate SRG data into the eRA system; ensuring that summary statements are properly prepared and released; maintaining office files; preparing nomination packages; scheduling office work to meet periodic deadlines; handling administrative details in the daily management of the office; and training Grants Clerks in the above described procedures.


Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for more than $400 billion in Federal grants. Grants.gov is the single access point for more than 1,000 grant programs offered by all Federal grant-making agencies. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the managing partner for the Federal Grants.gov initiative, one of 24 initiatives of the overall E-Government program for improving access to government services via the Internet (http://www.grants.gov/).

Group Advocate

See Advocate.


See Grants Management Specialist.


General Services Administration.


See Grants Technical Assistant.


See Grant Update Module.


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See Hypertext Markup Language.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

A text-based markup language for hypertext documents on the Internet. HTML enables the embedding of images, sounds, video streams, form fields, references to other objects with URLs and basic text formatting.


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See Institutional Animal Care and User Committee.


See Inter-Agency Electronic Grants Committee.


See Internet Assisted Review.


See Institutes and Centers.

IC Coding of Disease Categories

The NIH Office of the Budget must prepare agency-wide reports on more than 230 diseases and conditions. The text mining and knowledge management technology being used for the IC Coding project is Collexis, a family of intelligent, text-searching tools for examining vast quantities of data to identify patterns and establish relationships. This software is based on the principle of "fingerprinting" each piece of text that contains relevant information. The fingerprinting process makes use of the professional terminology of a particular field. For example, the system can fingerprint an article based on the National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) Thesaurus. Collexis then can condense the fingerprints of all of the researcher's publications into a knowledge profile of that individual. Once Collexis has completed the fingerprinting/profiling of all sources of input, the system can make associations based on criteria established by the user. 

A key critical success factor for this project is the ability to overcome the differences in coding schemes used by the 27 different ICs. These coding schemes are extremely important in getting a good understanding of the budgets spent on the various subjects. There will be a central project coding system that combines and aggregates project information from the various ICs in a consistent and homogeneous way. Budget and policy analysts can use this system to generate reports to Congress and the public. ICs can use this information to find overlap between IC projects, to detect emerging new fields and to harmonize the coding of overlapping IC fields. Scientists can use this information to better select the right institute to finance their research. Moreover, since this information has been harmonized and aggregated, it can serve scientists in more easily finding interesting projects. This initiative is also referred to as Knowledge Management for Disease Coding (KMDC).

IC Coding Thesaurus

The IC Coding Thesaurus contains the vocabulary used by each IC in scientific coding.

IC Query and Reporting (IQR)

An internal eRA System module that is a high-end reporting tool for accessing the IMPAC II Reporting Database (IRDB).


See Institute and Center Operations.


See Institute and Center Search, Track Order, Report.


See Interagency Edison.


See Information Management.


NIH's extensive internal information management system for application and award data. The Information for Management, Planning, Analysis and Coordination (IMPAC II) is part of the eRA System.

IMPAC II Reporting Database (IRDB)

The IMPAC II Reporting Database (IRDB) is a simplified database designed for speedy, simplified querying and reporting. IRDB loads data from the Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) database. The IRDB is used regularly by ICs for data downloads or data access in real-time to extension systems.


The first phase of Rational Unified Process (RUP) in which the seed idea, request for proposal, for the previous generation is brought to the point of being (at least internally) funded to enter the elaboration phase.

Information for Management, Planning, Analysis, and Coordination (IMPAC I)

The early system for application and award data that was phased out and replaced by IMPAC II, now part of the eRA System.

Information Management

The eRA Information Management (IM) module is used by personnel in the System Quality Assurance and Interfaces Branch (SQAIB) to manage the organizational information in the IPF, assign an identification number to a new applicant organization, and to maintain hierarchical information for institutions of domestic higher education.

Institute and Center Search, Track Order, and Report (ICSTORe)

ICSTORe is an internal eRA module for document tracking and retrieval, such as summary statements, abstracts, notices of grant awards (NGAs), FSRs, and other electronic documents. ICSTORe is both a free-standing module and a shared module available through Grants Management, Peer Review, ICO, and other eRA modules. ICSTORe is designed to let the user perform several functions related to document tracking and retrieval, including: searching for applications based on a variety of fields and generating a "hit list;" view and sort the hit list various ways and by user-defined criteria; add individual applications to the hit list; export the hit list to Microsoft Excel; identify and track newly released documents; publish council books that can be divided into multiple sections that are each sorted according to user-defined criteria; print documents for selected applications at the NIH central printers in multiple copy; generate a download zip file of individual documents in PDF; and generate a download file of documents merged into a single PDF.

Institute and Center Operations (ICO)

Institute and Center Operations (ICO) is an internal eRA module that provides administrative functions required by the IC’s Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) and program officials, including viewing application and program class code assignments, managing a portfolio (e.g., ability to set payment codes and sign off on awards), and updating basic grant information such as title, PI, and budget data. ICO permits budget officers to indicate grants to be paid and council administrators to add council actions to the database. ICO target users include: IC Referral Officer/ Information Specialist, for assigning incoming grant applications to program officials and program areas; Program Administrator, for tracking portfolios, the progress of individual grants, and for approving applications for award; Grant Data Administrator for maintaining grant-related data and preparing pre- and post-council data; and Animal and Human Subjects officials for removing bars and tracking compliance. 

Institute and Center Query and Reporting (IQR)

Institute and Center Query and Reporting (IQR) is an internal eRA System module that is a high-end reporting tool for accessing the IMPAC II Reporting Database (IRDB).

Institutes and Centers (IC)

Institutes and Centers, commonly called 'ICs,' are the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Institutional Animal Care and User Committee (IACUC)

NIH committee that oversees the proper care of animals used in biomedical or behavioral research. IACUC review and approval is required for all NIH grant-funded research involving live vertebrate animals prior to funding.

Institutional Profile File (IPF)

The Institutional Profile File (IPF) has been in existence since 1945 and is the central registry of names, locations, related geographical coding, and other selected data for organizations participating in the extramural programs of the NIH and selected other agencies of the DHHS. It includes standardized coding from Department of Commerce sources (primarily FIPS) and allows interchange of data between agencies and the public. Relationships between organizations are indicated in the file whenever they are known.

Integrated Review Group (IRG)

Review activities of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) are organized into Integrated Review Groups (IRGs). Each IRG represents a cluster of study sections responsible for the review of grant applications in scientifically related areas. These study sections share common intellectual and human resources. Applications generally are assigned first to an IRG, and then to a specific study section within that IRG for evaluation of scientific merit.


Combining software or hardware components or both into an overall system.

Integration Testing

Testing in which software and/or hardware components are combined and tested progressively until the entire system has been integrated.

Inter-Agency Electronic Grants Committee (IAEGC)

A group that facilitates the effective use of e-commerce for the federal grants community.

Interagency Edison (iEdison)

Interagency Edison (iEdison) is the government's Internet center for reporting inventions developed with government funding. iEdison helps government grantees and contractors comply with a federal law, the Bayh-Dole Act. Bayh-Dole regulations require that government funded inventions be reported to the federal agency who made the award. iEdison is interagency because it provides a single interface for grantees and contractors to interact with any participating agency. Since 1997, iEdison has grown to where now more than 500 grantee or contractor organizations are registered and using the system, and inventions supported by any of 25 federal agencies can be reported through the iEdison system, including: Army, DOE, EPA, NOAA, NSF, USAF, and USDA. Website: https://s-edison.info.nih.gov/iEdison/.

Internet Assisted Review (IAR)

Internet Assisted Review (IAR) is an eRA Web-based system to manage the process of electronic submission of critiques by Reviewers. IAR helps to expedite the scientific review of grant applications by providing a standard process for Reviewers to submit their critiques and initial priority scores via the Internet. IAR enables reviewers to submit critiques and view each other's reviews before the actual meeting. As a result, review meetings can contain more informed discussions because reviewers are able to read the evaluations entered by others prior to the review meeting (except where there is a conflict of interest).

IAR allows for: critique, preliminary score submission and streamline voting for Reviewers; and meeting management via the Control Center; designation of the lower half; and downloading of preliminary summary statements from critiques for SRAs. 

Investigator-Initiated applications

An investigator submitting a research application usually on a subject of his or her own choice. Formerly known as "unsolicited research." However, applications submitted through Grants.gov to NIH no longer can be called "unsolicited" because they all have to be in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).


See Institutional Profile File.


See Institute and Center Query and Reporting.


See IMPAC II Reporting Database.


See Integrated Review Group.

IT Shared Design Group

A group of IC representatives, chaired by the Center for Information Technology (CIT), that develops shared designs of NIH information systems to reduce costs and enhance results by pooling knowledge and conducting joint projects. 


A distinct sequence of activities with a baselined plan and valuation criteria resulting in a release (internal or external).


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Java 2, Enterprise Edition. Object-oriented architecture that is the platform for the Web-based eRA System.


See Joint Application Development.


See Just in Time.

Joint Application Development (JAD)

A working session, attended by users, analysts, and technical developers, used for requirements definition and prototype evaluation.

Just in Time (JIT)

Information requested by NIH after the review of a competing application but before the award. This information can be submitted electronically through Commons or via email, fax or other communication tools. Applicants should wait for the Institute or Center to request this informaiton before sending it in.


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See Knowledge Management.


See Knowledge Management for Disease Coding.

Knowledge Management (KM)

Knowledge Management (KM) refers to a strategic, knowledge-centric program that enables the systematic processes of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling and presenting information in ways that improve organizational comprehension of specific areas of interest and increase effective uses of critical knowledge.

Knowledge Management (KM) Thesaurus

The Knowledge Management (KM) Thesaurus is the vocabulary used by the Collexis tool to generate information retrieval and mining fingerprints.

Knowledge Management for Disease Coding (KMDC)

Knowledge Management (KM) refers to a strategic, knowledge-centric program that enables the systematic processes of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling and presenting information in ways that improve organizational comprehension of specific areas of interest and increase effective uses of critical knowledge.

The Knowledge Management for Disease Coding (KMDC) group is developing a Knowledge Management tool to mine text data from NIH grant applications to perform disease category reporting. This project will:
o       Improve reliability & consistency of disease coding across ICs
o       Speed up the process
o       Standardize and facilitate budget reporting by disease topics
o       Increase transparency and scientific validity


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Letter of Intent

Some ICs request prospective applicants to submit letters of intent prior to the submission of a grant application. The letter usually included the name, address and phone number of the PI, identified other key personnel and participating institutions, and the RFA or PA identification. Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows institute staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan for the application.


1. To copy data (often program code to be run) into memory, possibly parsing it somehow in the process. For example, 7 “WordPerfect can’t load this RTF file—are you sure it didn’t get corrupted in the download?” Opposite of save.

2. The degree to which a computer, network, or other resource is used, sometimes expressed as a percentage of the maximum available. For example, “What kind of CPU load does that program give?” “The network’s constantly running at 100% load.” Sometimes used, by extension, to mean “to increase the level of use of a resource”. For example, “Loading a spreadsheet really loads the CPU”. See also: load balancing.

3. To install a piece of software onto a system. For example, “The computer guy is gonna come load Excel on my laptop for me”. This usage is widely considered to be incorrect.

Load Balancing

Techniques that aim to spread tasks among the processors in a parallel processor to avoid some processors being idle while others have tasks queueing for execution. Load balancing can be performed either by heavily loaded processors (with many tasks in their queues) sending tasks to other processors; by idle processors requesting work from others; by some centralized task distribution mechanism; or some combination of these. Some systems allow tasks to be moved after they have started executing (“task migration”) others do not. It is important that the overhead of executing the load balancing algorithm does not contribute significantly to the overall processing or communications load.


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Materialized Views (MV)

Oracle objects that are used to create, maintain, and use summary tables.

Modular Budget

Budget requesting $250,000 or less per year for direct costs. Applicable only to R01, R03, R15, R21 and R34 applications.


See Materialized Views.


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See National Advisory Council.

National Advisory Council (NAC)

A standing committee in each IC that provides the second level of grant application review following the Scientific Review Group (SRG). The number of NAC meetings per year varies for each IC.

National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA)

An organization of individuals involved in the administration of sponsored programs at colleges, universities and teaching hospitals.


See New Budgeted Requirement.


NIH Business and Research Support System.


See National Council of University Research Administrators.


New (T-1) in NIH terminology.

New Budgeted Requirement (NBR)

eRA prioritization term for a planned, budgeted requirement.

New Funded Requirement (NFR)

eRA prioritization term for a new requirement that is financed.

New Requirement (NR)

eRA prioritization term for a new requirement with no budget.


See New Funded Requirement.


See Notice of Grant Award.


National Institutes of Health.

NIH Disease Category Fingerprint

NIH Disease Category Fingerprints are a set of vocabulary terms used to define a Disease Category. The Disease Category Fingerprint will be pre-defined with the Collexis tool and health science experts. They will be pre-defined prior to utilization on Projects and Proposals, and will be controlled by a limited set of users with the Office of the Director at NIH. It is anticipated that the thesaurus of choice for vocabulary terms will be UMLS. As of April 2004, the version of UMLS used will be version 2003AC; the version maybe updated as newer versions are released.

NIH eRA Commons

A Web-based, J2EE system that enables data exchange between the external research community and NIH. Only registered organizations can access the working modules. Commons consists of several modules, including: Status, eSNAP, X-Train, IAR, FSR, and Account Administration. Also called eRA Commons and NIH eRA Commons.

NIH Guide

The "NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts" is the official publication for NIH medical and behavioral research grant policies, guidelines and funding opportunities. It also is used by Contracting officers and other HHS agencies to announce their funding opportunities. The NIH Guide serves in lieu of the Federal Register. New extramural grant programs and priorities are implemented by publication of one in the Guide. The NIH Guide and the funding opportunities are widely disseminated to academic and biomedical research institutions and small businesses via an automatic electronic mailing list, called a "listserv." The Guide is available online from several Web sites, including the Federal Business Opportunities Website (FedBizOpps.gov) and Grants.gov.


National Library of Medicine.

Notice of Grant Award

A Notice of Grant Award (NGA) is a legally binding document stating the government has obligated funds and which defines the period of support and the terms and conditions of award. NGAs are generated from the eRA Grants Management module and are emailed to grantees. Commons and eRA users access the NGA from the Grant Folder. eRA is planning to transmit NGA data system-to-system from the eRA Exchange to grantee systems.


See New Requirement.


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See Original Budgeted Requirement.


See Open Database Connectivity.

Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)

NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare develops, implements, and oversees compliance with the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Office of Research Information Systems (ORIS)

An office in the Office of Extramural Research, Office of the Director, NIH. The electronic Research Administration (eRA) and the Reporting Group are part of ORIS.


NIH Office of Financial Management.


See Original Funded Requirement.


See Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.


See Online Transaction Processing.

Online Transaction Processing (OLTP)

A database containing all incoming data in a sophisticated Oracle relational database that reduces the processing burden.


See Operating Division (OPDIV).

Open Database Connectivity

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) provides a common interface for heterogeneous SQL databases. This interface provides maximum interoperability: a single application can access different SQL Database Systems (DBMS) through a common set of code. ODBC drivers are used to connect ODBC-compliant desktop applications including MS Excel, MS Access, Oracle RDBMS, Microsoft SQL, and other databases.

Open Date

First date an applicant can submit an electronic grant application to NIH through Grants.gov.

Operating Division (OPDIV)

Operating Division of the Federal government. In the context of eRA, OPDIV refers to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Operating Divisions, such as: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


Office of Protection from Research Risks.


Relational database developed by Oracle Corporation.

Organizational Hierarchy

Ability for organizations, such as ICs and Institutions, to define different levels to their organizational for different business areas. Users in a particular role would be assigned to a level of the hierarchy. The user would then be able to exercise the rights associated with his/her role for grant applications assigned to the user's organization. For example, a Program Officer would retrieve grant applications explicitly assigned to him or her. However, a Program Area director would retrieve grant applications assigned to all of the Program Officers in that program area. 

Commons institutions can maintain their Schools, Divisions, and Departments in their institutional profiles. The organizational hierarchy will be tied to security and delegation so that Signing Officials (SOs), Administrative Officials (AOs), and other roles are limited to process grant applications for a subset of the organization. In addition, organizations need to move grant applications administratively between different departments.

The organizational hierarchy is sometimes referred to as Virtual Organizational Layers (VOLs).

Original Budgeted Requirement (OBR)

eRA prioritization term for an original requirement budgeted for and to be added in the release of software upgrades when the money becomes available.

Original Funded Requirement (OFR)

eRA prioritization term for an original requirement that has been funded and will be added in the schedule for release of software upgrades.


See Office of Research Information Systems.

Other/Withdrawn Portfolio Page

Contains all grants assigned to the signed-in user that are withdrawn. (Program Module)


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Program Project Grant. More complex in scope and budget than an R01. Available to a group of separate investigators with differing areas of expertise who want to collaborate on research by pooling their talents and resources.


Research Center Grant. Usually this grant is developed in response to the needs of an Institute or Center and receives continuous attention from staff. Grant to support any part of range from basic to clinical research; may involve patient care.


See Program Announcement.


See Program Advisory Committee.


A percentile-based funding cutoff point determined at the beginning of the fiscal year by balancing the projected number of applications coming to an NIH Institute with the amount of funds available.

Payment Management System

The HHS Payment Management System (PMS) is the automated system for the delivery and tracking of funds which the HHS Division of Payment Management (DPM) operated. Grant payments to non-federal grantee institutions are made available through PMS.


See Program Classification Code.


See Project Director/Principal Investigator.


See Portable Document Format.

Peer Review

Peer Review (REV), also called Review, is the business area responsible for the initial review of grant applications. Most initial reviews are conducted by peer review study sections in the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). However, applications in response to RFAs and PAs, as well as for selected grant mechanisms, are reviewed by IC study sections.

Peer Review (REV) is also the name of the eRA internal module providing NIH review organizations key information, including application data, lists of prospective reviewers, committee rosters, and reviewer assignments, used to prepare for, conduct, and record outcomes of review meetings, including summary statements.

The eRA Peer Review module (REV) and the Internet Assisted Review module (IAR) provide end-to-end functionality for the initial peer review process. The Peer Review system is used by internal review staff at the NIH and at several HHS operating divisions (OPDIVs). The following Peer Review system functions cover coordination, planning, conducting reviews, and making award recommendations, and providing review output.

The Application Administration portion of REV allows for: viewing a list of applications assigned to a specific review meeting; pre-meeting grant application administration for viewing and editing the data associated with each application; associating specific remarks about each application for later recall and sorting; associating scientific terms with each application for later recall and sorting; and listing all project personnel and associated institutions to allow for institute conflict-of-interest checking during reviewer assignment.

The Reviewers & People Lists functionality allows for pre-meeting reviewer management for creating, maintaining, and sharing lists of prospective reviewers. The Assignment of Reviewers to Applications portion of REV allows for: "point and click" assignment of reviewers and from the created list to each application in a particular reviewer role (e.g., primary reviewer, secondary reviewer, discussant, etc.); Designation of the assignment list as private; viewing a tally of the assignments to monitor reviewer workload; viewing assignments listed by reviewer rather than by application; viewing of scientific terms for each application and each reviewer; generating and flagging conflicts-of-interest listed by reviewer or application; and transferring assignments from one reviewer to another.

The Meeting Administration portion of REV allows for pre- and post-meeting administration for creating meeting rosters, agendas, and reports, and for entering and releasing application scores. This functionality also includes the preparation of summary statements using the eRA document service. This service combines data from the database with document content uploaded from distributed sites to create a PDF document that is stored in the database and is accessible to downstream processes via the electronic grant folder. The control center is used by the SRA to set up an exchange of information using the Internet Assisted Review module (IAR).

Dissemination of Review materials includes a CD Ordering function which allows the SRAs or Grants Technical Assistants (GTAs) have a CD burned for each reviewer that includes images of the grant applications that are assigned to that reviewer along with meeting-specific instructions for the review meeting. Reviewers using IAR access Review materials, including the electronic grant image, directly from the Web.

The Percentiles portion allows for management of percentile calculations for generating and building a percentile base table, determining which applications receive percentiles, and generating reports of the created tables.

Data Maintenance functionality allows for assigning a review order to applications prior to the meeting, deleting the list of scores and the reviewer list after a meeting and for maintaining the list of scientific terms associated with applications and reviewers.

The Reports portion provides for more than fifty reports. Internet Assisted Review is described separately under that heading.

Pending SRG Portfolio Page

Contains all competing applications assigned to the signed-in user that have a status of Pending IRG Review. (Program Module)

Pending Type 5 Portfolio Page

Contains all non-competing grants assigned to the signed-in user for the current fiscal year that have a status of To be Paid. (Program Module)

Percent Effort

The effort a senior/key person devotes to the project. Percent effort is converted to person months for example in this way: for a calendar appointment where the person devotes 50 percent effort, it translates to six months.

Person Module

The Shared Person module allows users to view and maintain demographic information about persons who do business with the NIH, including Principal Investigators (PIs), committee members, trainees, and federal employees. The eRA database maintains a profile for each person, which contains the latest information for that person. It also maintains a role record for each involvement the person has had with NIH (e.g., each grant they've been a PI on). This role record contains demographic information that was current at the point in time of the involvement. Because each role record points to a single profile, tracking an individual's involvement with the NIH over time is facilitated.

Person Months

Number of calendar, academic or summer months a senior/key person will spend on the project. This can be listed as between 0 to 12.

Personal Profile (PPF)

A Personal Profile (PPF) is a database record with the most recent personal data associated with an individual in the eRA database. For example, Principal Investigator (PI) profiles include information on the investigator's degrees, employment, address and publications.


See Program Module.


The time between two major project milestones in the Rational Unified Process (RUP), during which a well-defined set of objectives is met, artifacts are completed, and decisions are made to move or not move into the next phase.

PHS 398

The Public Health Service (PHS) 398 form is an Agency-specific form accompanying the SF424 (R&R) form set.


See Principal Investigator.


See Program Management Office.


See Payment Management System.


See Program Officer.


See Population Tracking.


See Project Officers/Program Officials Forum.

Population Tracking

Population Tracking (POP) is an eRA module that provides an electronic means of entering, storing, and reporting the annual population tracking data required for the NIH Inclusion Policy. It provides a means of integrating the storage and reporting of the population tracking data and the ability to record data reported in both the old and new OMB formats for reporting data on ethnicity and race. It was developed to improve the accuracy of the NIH's tracking data on the inclusion of women and minorities.

POP allows granting organization staff to define protocols for clinical trials and assign them to grant applications and maintain the subject counts for target and actual enrollment data received from investigators as part of their annual progress reports. Note that for progress reports submitted electronically using the eRA Commons eSNAP module, annual enrollment data for subject counts is entered electronically by the investigator. Once the data has been entered via the Commons, the internal official views the data using the old or new OMB form, as appropriate, and approves the submission. The final output of POP is data that is used to report to Congress.

Portable Document Format

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format developed by Adobe Systems that captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications, making it possible to send formatted documents and have them appear on the recipient's monitor or printer as they were intended.


A portal is a customizable, single integration point that is used to launch applications, websites and other tools that users need to perform their jobs. With a single logon, users have access to all role-based privileges. Each user can customize a portal home page to link seamlessly to portlets, which are functional areas.

Post Award Portfolio Page

Contains all competing and non-competing grants assigned to the signed-in user for the current fiscal year that have a status of Awarded, Award Prepared Not Funded, Terminated and Cancelled. (Program Module)

Post-Council Portfolio Page

Contains all competing applications for the current fiscal year assigned to the signed-in user that have a status of Pending Award, Council-Not Recommended for Consideration, Council Deferred and To be Paid. (Program Module)

PowerView (PV)

A set of database views for "power users" for retrieving grant-related information from the eRA database. PowerViews are pre-joined tables accessible for reporting, analysis, and evaluation, using various query tools, including Microsoft Access and Excel.


See Personal Profile (PPF).

Pre-Council Portfolio Page

Contains all competing applications for the current fiscal year assigned to the signed-in user that have a status of Pending Council Review, No Initial Review Group (IRG) Recommendation and Not Recommended for Consideration (NRFC). (Program Module)

Principal Investigator (PI)

A qualified person designated by the applicant institution to direct the research and be responsible for the proper conduct of the project or program of a grant.


See Program Module.

Program Advisory Committee (PAC)

A standing committee that reviews a specific IC program.

Program Announcement (PA)

NIH announcement requesting applications in stated scientific areas. It falls under the generic term "funding opportunity announcement" (FOA) in Grants.gov terminology.

Program Approval

Process performed by program staff to review and approve non-competing progress reports.

Program Checklist

Questions the NIH requires Program staff to answer prior to the award of each non-competing grant.

Program Classification Code (PCC)

The Program Classification Code (PCC) is an IC's scientific interest and is assigned using an internal program classification code. This PCC code is used to identify internal programs, branch classifications, the science or disease area, and sometimes program officials. PCCs are unique for each IC.

Program Management Office (PMO)

The office within the Office of Research Information Systems (ORIS) that is responsible for managing the eRA program

Program Module (PGM)

Program (PGM) is the business area responsible for overseeing the organization's scientific program and the progress of grants in the organization's portfolio. Program (PGM) is also the name of the eRA internal module providing NIH program officials the ability to conduct NIH research administration using the paperless processes mandated by Congress. PGM allows Program Officers (POs) to monitor and administer their assigned grant applications as they move through all phases of the grant lifecycle and to find the status of an individual grant very quickly. 

The eRA Program Module (PGM) provides one place where a Program Official (PO) can do his or her grant-related work, including: getting information quickly on a grant's status when a PI calls; quickly accessing a PO’s assigned grants and related documents; monitoring one's portfolio workload at each stage of the grant cycle, including Pre-Submission, Pending SRG, Pre-Council, Post Council, Pending Type 5s, and Post Award; providing Program Approval for pre-award and Progress Reports checklist; accessing reports and exporting lists to Excel from each page; and accessing links to other eRA modules (e.g., Commons, Web QT).

PGM facilitates processing electronically received applications. The PO easily can see applications pending his or her approval, view the application image or progress report from the electronic grant folder, complete the electronic customizable checklist, and 'sign off.' The information is then available to the Grants Specialist from the Grants Management module (GM).

Program Officer

An Institute staff member who coordinates the substantive aspects of a contract from planning the request for proposal to oversight.

Program Official (PO)

A Program Officer (PO) is an Institute staff member who oversees a scientific program and the progress of grants in his or her portfolio. Program Officers work closely with grants management staff to administer and resolve issues with grants. Also referred to as Program Administrators.

Program Portfolio

A Program Official’s portfolio that consists of grant applications in their respective phases throughout the grant lifecycle, from pre-submission through post-award. Currently, the Program module provides six default portfolios: Pending SRG, Pre-Council, Post Council, Pending Type 5s, Post Award, and Other/Withdrawn. (Program Module)

Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI)

The individual designated by the applicant organization to direct the project or program to be supported by the grant. The PI/PD is responsible and accountable to applicant organization officials for the proper conduct of the project or program.

Project Officers/Program Officials Forum (POPOF)

A committee of IC program staff representatives that provides policy advice and makes recommendations to Extramural Program Management Committee (EPMC) from an operations perspective.

Project/Proposal Fingerprint

The Disease Categories assigned to a Project/Proposal. It is generated through the representation of the results from the information retrieval and mining of eRA documents (such as the Grant Image, Summary Statement, Abstract), using the Collexis tool, against the pre-defined approximately 230 Disease Category fingerprints.

Public Access

Public Access refers to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research (Public Access Policy), which took effect on May 2, 2005. It requests and strongly encourages all investigators to make their NIH-funded peer-reviewed, author's final manuscript available to other researchers and the public through the NIH National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC) immediately after the final date of journal publication.

PubMed Central

NLM's PubMed Central (PMC) is the U.S. National Library of Medicine's free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. PubMed Central is a permanent archive and one of many sources of full-text articles linked to PubMed/MEDLINE citations.

PureEdge Viewer

PureEdge Viewer is a small, free program that allows applicants to access, complete and submit all application packages electronically and securely through Grants.gov.


See PowerView.


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QT Engine

See Query Tool Engine.

Query Tool Engine (QT Engine)

The QT Engine is set of common query and retrieval backend components. By using the QT engine components, each business area can customize its hit list, query screens, sort options, and output options (e.g., export to Microsoft Excel, download documents) without having to custom build this functionality in each module. See also Web Query Tool.

Query/View/Report (QVR)

The QVR is a decision support system for internal users that is designed for quick and easy access to eRA System data.  QVR is not an eRA module; rather, it is supported by the Center for Information Technology (CIT) at the NIH.

QuickView (QV)

QuickView is a query tool that simplifies the retrieval of select grant data: summary statements, abstracts, basic administrative data, budget information, PI contact information, and notice of grant awards. It provides basic query using the Search Screen, which allows the user to search for grants by various criteria, including PI name, Grant Number, Organization Name, and Program Class Code among others. Some fields allow wild card searching. QV has four major screens for viewing output: The Overview Screen contains basic information about the applications such as Title, Priority Score, Percentile, Requested and Council dollar amounts, as well as access to the Grant Folder with Summary Statement and other documents; the PI/Staff screen contains basic information on the PI such as address, email, and phone numbers; the Organization screen contains data on the grantee organization such as IPF number, type of organization, and addresses; the Budget Screen contains detailed budget award information on the grant including co-funding data and the ability to view the actual Notice of Grant Award.

The functionality of QuickView will be subsumed in the WebQT module.


See QuickView.


See Query/View/Report.


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Individual Basic Research Grant (see R01). These grants make up the largest category of NIH funding.


Small Research Grant (see R03). The R03 award will support small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources.


Scientific Meeting Support grant or Conference grant (see R13).


Academic Research Enhancement Award grant (see AREA and R15).


Exploratory/Developmental Research grant (see R21).


See Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).


See Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).


See Reports, Analysis, and Evaluation.

Rational Unified Process (RUP)

RUP is a complex, multi-phase methodology, based on best practices, that improves existing processes by taking advantage of proven Rational software engineering expertise. The core process workflows in the RUP model -- business modeling, requirements, analysis and design, implementation, test, and deployment -- are executed with varying intensity during four development phases: inception, elaboration, construction and transition. This workflow brings order to the software development process and allows formulation of a reasonable schedule. RUP verifies quality on satisfying "use" case requirements rather than validating design. It uses an iterative software development path rather than a linear one, and incorporates unified modeling language (UML), the industry-standard language for "specifying, visualizing, constructing, and documenting the artifacts of software systems."

Real Time

Describes an application that requires a program to respond to stimuli within some small upper limit of response time (typically milli- or microseconds). Such applications often require special operating systems (because everything else must take a back seat to response time) and speed-tuned hardware.

Receipt and Referral (RR)

Receipt and Referral (RR) is a business area within the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), Division of Receipt and Referral (DRR), as well as an internal eRA module used primarily by DRR intake staff to process incoming grant applications, and by DRR Referral Officers to refer incoming applications to an IC and scientific review group (SRG).

CSR Division of Receipt and Referral is the central receipt point for all new, competing, revised, and supplemental grant applications submitted to NIH and other Public Health Service (PHS) agencies. CSR ensures that the thousands of applications received each year are logged in and routed to the appropriate destinations. CSR also makes initial referrals, assigns the applications to ICs and IRGs, and provides scientific review. The eReferral module provides screens for data entry from the original application and also has in interface for Referral Officers to assign incoming applications to initial review groups and granting organization. 

RR provides the following categories of functionality: Grant Application Forms has screens for data entry of the Grant Applications submitted on PHS 398 and Fellowship Applications submitted on PHS 416; Print Shop has screens used to perform photocopy services, generation of requisition forms, and address forms; Project Control has screens used to perform functions requested by ICs, and/or by applicants; Table Maintenance has screens used to maintain reference tables and perform other functions; Referral Office has screens used to support the Director, Assistant Chiefs, and Referral Officers in assigning an application for review and funding; Searches and Reports has screens used to perform additional searches and initiate the report selection subsystem.

Referral Officer

A Referral Officer is an experienced Health Scientist Administrator (HSA). The assignment duties of the Referral Officers are divided up according to the Integrated Review Group (IRG) that will be reviewing a given application. Most Referral Officers also serve as Scientific Review Administrators of CSR Scientific Review Groups. The Referral Officer examines the incoming competing grant application with particular attention to the scientific area, specific aims, methods and procedures, and relevance to the missions of the PHS awarding organizations. The Referral Officer is responsible for assigning the application to a review group and IC and for determining the type of application, i.e., new (type 1), competing continuation (type 2), supplemental (type 3), as well as the activity code.

Release Date/Posted Date

The date a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is posted on Grants.gov/Apply. An applicant can download the application package on that date and begin filling it out. However, the applicant has to wait until the FOA's "open date" to submit the application.


Formerly called "Competing Continuation" in NIH terminology. A renewal is an application requesting additional funding for a period subsequent to that provided by the current award. A renewal competes with all other applications and must be developed as fully as though the application is applying for the first time.

Reports, Analysis, and Evaluation (RAE)

Reporting, Analysis, and Evaluation consists of an ever-expanding suite of eRA tools for users to create reports from data in the eRA and IRDB databases with the use of query tools, including QuickView, PowerView, IQR and the Web Query Tool (QT). Note that business area-specific reports are accessed directly from the business area modules.

Request for Applications (RFA)

NIH announcement that solicits grant or cooperative agreement applications in a well-defined scientific area to accomplish specific program objectives. An RFA indicates the estimated amount of funds set aside for the competition, the estimated number of awards to be made and the application submission date. It falls under the generic reference "Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)" in Grants.gov terminology.


A requirement describes a condition or capability to which a system must conform; either derived directly from user needs, or stated in a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed document.


Formerly called "Revision" or "Amendment" in NIH terminology. A resubmission is an application that previously was submitted but not funded and is being resubmitted for consideration, usually with substantial changes in the Research Plan. NIH allows the submission of up to two revised applications and no longer restricts those submissions to a two-year timeframe.

Resume of Transactions (ROT)

Resume of Transactions (ROTs) are a set of notifications sent to interested individuals upon changes in grant status or selected grant data. ROTs and Common Mailers will be replaced by eNotification.


See Peer Review.

Review (Peer Review, REV)

See Peer Review.

Review Policy Committee (RPC)

An NIH group of IC representatives that advises the chairman of Extramural Program Management Committee (EPMC) on policies and procedures for initial peer review.


Formerly called "Competing Supplemental application" in NIH terminology. A Revision is an application requesting support for a significant expansion of a project's scope or research protocol. A revised application should not be submitted until after the original application has been awarded and may not extend beyond the term of the current award period.


See Request for Applications.


See Resume of Transactions.


See Review Policy Committee.


See Receipt and Referral.


See Rational Unified Process.


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See Small Business Innovation Research.


Scanning was implemented as a first step in the migration from processing paper grant applications to electronic submission. Until all grant applications are received electronically, eRA scans applications for those competing grant types that have not transitioned yet to electronic receipt. The scanned images are stored as PDF files in the eRA database and are accessible to users from the Grant Folder. Scanning is also necessary to implement eRecords Management. With time, additional paper documents will be scanned, such as legacy files and non-competing grant applications (Type 5s).

Scientific Code Fingerprint

Scientific Code Fingerprints are not applicable for Knowledge Management prototypes.

Scientific Codes

Scientific Codes are key terms assigned by ICs to Projects and Proposals that appear in the NIH database of funded research, and are used to reflect the “areas” of NIH-supported research. Scientific codes also are referred to as disease codes and anatomic/disease sites.

Scientific Coding

Scientific Coding is the process in which an IC assigns key terms to Projects and Proposals.

Scientific Review Administrator (SRA)

A Scientific Review Administrator (SRA) is a federal scientist administrator in charge of review and advisory groups and is responsible for coordinating and reporting the review of each application assigned to it. The SRA serves as an intermediary between the applicant and reviewers, and prepares summary statements for all applications reviewed. 

Scientific Review and Evaluation Award (SREA)

A payment made to a Scientific Review Group (SRG) reviewer. Also refers to the process by which the award is generated.

Scientific Review Group (SRG)

A Scientific Review Group (SRG) is a panel of experts established according to scientific disciplines or current research areas to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of grant applications. It does not make any funding decisions. Also called "study sections" and "review committee."

Section 508

Section 508 refers to a statutory section in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (found at 29 U.S.C. 794d). Congress significantly strengthened section 508 in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Its primary purpose is to provide access to and use of Federal executive agencies' electronic and information technology (EIT) by individuals with disabilities. The statutory language of section 508 can be found at www.section508.gov.


See Special Emphasis Panel.


Functionality that is provided by the server rather than on the user's machine. For example, with a server-side image map, mouse coordinates are sent to the server, which then decides what action to take. With a client-side image map, the action is taken by the client immediately.

Service Provider

Commercial companies that, for a fee, will assist applicants with electronic submission of applications to NIH via Grants.gov.


A Java program that extends the functionality of a Web server, generating dynamic content and interacting with Web clients using a request-response paradigm.


Standard government-wide grant application forms including: SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance cover page); SF-424A (Budget Information Non-construction Programs); SF-424B (Assurances Non-construction Programs; SF-424C (Budget Information Construction Programs); and SF-424D (Assurances Construction Programs). Plus named attachments including Project Narrative and Budget Narrative.

SF424 (R&R)

See Standard Form 424 Research & Related.

Signing Official (SO)

A Signing Official (SO) has institutional authority to legally bind the institution in grants administration matters. The individual fulfilling this role may have any number of titles in the grantee organization. The label "Signing Official" is used in conjunction with the eRA Commons. The SO can register the institution, and create and modify the institutional profile and user accounts. The SO also can view all grants within the institution, including status and award information. An SO can create additional SO accounts as well as accounts with any other role or combination of roles. 

For most institutions, the Signing Official (SO) is located in its Office of Sponsored Research or equivalent.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

SOAP is a lightweight protocol for the exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It is an XML-based protocol that consists of three parts: an envelope that defines a framework for describing what is in a message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined datatypes, and a convention for representing remote procedure calls and responses.


See Special Initiatives Tracking System.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The SBIR program is a highly specialized form of funding for small firms (less than 500 employees) to perform cutting-edge research and development (R&D) that address the nation’s most critical scientific and engineering needs. Go to NIH's Small Business Funding Opportunities.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the NIH is a set-aside program (2.5% of an agency's extramural budget) for domestic small business concerns to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The SBIR program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorized until September 30, 2000 by the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act (P.L. 102-564), and reauthorized again until September 30, 2008 by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-554).

Small Business Technical Transfer (STTR)

Grant awarded for implementation of an innovative project that has the potential for commercialization. It requires a formal cooperative agreement between a small business and a research institution or nonprofit. See NIH"s Small Business Funding Opportunities Web site.


See Signing Official.


See Simple Object Access Protocol.

Special Emphasis Panel (SEP)

A SEP reviews grant and cooperative agreement applications and contract proposals for research projects and for research and training activities in broad areas of basic and clinical cancer research. Members and Chairs, rather than formally appointed, are selected to serve for individual meetings on an “as needed” basis in response to specific applications or proposals.

Special Initiatives Tracking System (SITS)

The Special Initiatives Tracking System (SITS) is an eRA module that enables reviewers, grants management, and other authorized staff to maintain data for minority, disability, and reentry supplements either on a supplement or by designating a portion of a grant as a 'rolled in' SITS supplement.


See Scientific Review Administrator.


See Scientific Review and Evaluation Award.


See Scientific Review Group.


See Summary Statement.

Standard Form 424 Research & Related (SF424 (R&R))

The SF424 (R&R) is an application form that comprises common data elements developed by federal agencies that fund research and research-related programs. NIH is transitioning from the PHS 398 form to the Standard Form 424 Research and Related (R&R) and agency-specific forms. All applications to NIH via Grants.gov will be required to be submitted on an SF424 (R&R) form, thereby providing a consistent electronic submission process through Grants.gov to NIH. NIH plans to transition all competing research grant applications from the PHS 398 to the new SF424 (R&R) by the end of May 2007. The transition began in December 2005 with two types of grants and will continue until all are transitioned.


Status is an eRA Commons module that is a secure, interactive Web interface by which grantees and grantee organization administrative officials can obtain information about pending grant applications and awards. Status allows Principal Investigators (PIs) to review the current status of all their grant applications and review detailed information associated with their grants. Institution Officials [i.e., Signing Official (SO) or Administrative Official (AO) associated with the institution] can see a summary view of grant applications, review the official result of review in the Summary Statement, review the Notice of Grant Award, access the Progress Report face page, and see the status of their applications as they proceed through the grant cycle. 

An investigator can view the status only for the applications that he/she submitted. The Institution Officials can view selected status only for investigators in their institutions. Using Commons Account Management, Grantees can define and maintain organizational hierarchies for their institutions. eRA is currently enhancing the Commons Status system so that Institutional officials (SOs, AOs) can be assigned to different levels of their organization's hierarchy. This way, officials can view only those applications for organizational components within their purview. This feature is optional for institutions. 

Status provides several pre-defined queries that are most frequently requested: applications awaiting the submission of Just-in-time submission; pending progress reports needed; recently awarded grants; training grants; fellowships; and e-submissions. eRA currently is developing a robust ad hoc reporting tool for the status system, WebQT, which will allow institution officials to query for pending applications that meet a combination of user-entered search parameters.

Status Code Computation Module

The status of grant records in the eRA database is recomputed in real-time whenever one or more of a selected list of data elements changes. Status code changes are independent of any eRA module. The business rules and algorithm for status changes are maintained centrally at the database level.


See Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).

Subaward Budget

Formerly called "Consortium Budget" in NIH terminology. Separate budgets are required only for subawardee/consortium organizations that perform a substantive portion of the project.

Submission Deadline

The submission deadline is the date and time by which the application must be received by Grants.gov. Applications must be submitted to Grants.gov by 5 p.m. local time in the applicant organization/ institution's time zone on the submission/ receipt date. If  the submission/ receipt date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the date is extended to the next business day.


A subproject is a discrete and clearly identifiable segment of a multi-component application which has an identified project leader (may be different from the Principal Investigator on the application) and a separate budget. A subproject may include a scientific investigation, the provision of a service or resource, or a combination of activities and receives a specific review assignment and assessment (score and/or descriptor). Most commonly, subprojects are part of the M, P, S, and U mechanisms.

Subproject Module

The Subproject Module is a set of common screens that can be activated from several different modules, including: Peer Review, IC Operations, Grants Management, Population Tracking, and CRISP Plus. The module allows authorized users to enter, validate, delete, and edit subprojects and related information.

Summary E-Notifications

E-Notifications that convey multiple messages to at least one recipient, within one e-notification, on a given object (e.g., Grant, IC, etc.). For example, if an SRA wants to receive a notification when the IC of a grant changes, and when a grant is withdrawn, eRA supports sending just one summary notification with both messages to the SRA.

Summary Statement (SS)

A Summary Statement is an official document showing the outcome of initial peer review, containing a combination of the reviewers' written comments and the SRA's summary of the members' discussion during the study section meeting. It includes the recommendations of the study section, a recommended budget, and administrative notes of special considerations.




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T Award

Training award. See NIH's Types of Grant Programs Web site for details.


See Training Activities.


See Training Advisory Committee.

Training Activities (TA)

Training Activities (TA) is a business area and an eRA module supporting NIH's National Research Service Award (NRSA) business operations for processing appointments, terminations, and payback obligations. Entered data originates both from documents mailed by principal investigators (PIs) to NIH as well as appointments and terminations entered by PIs electronically through the eRA Commons X-Train module.

After a training grant is awarded, the Research Training Program Director at each grantee institution is responsible for the selection and appointment of trainees and the overall direction of the Training Program. In selecting trainees, the Program Director must make certain that individuals receiving support meet all eligibility requirements. Internal staff at the granting organization use TA for processing trainee appointments, terminations, and payback obligations. Staff enter and review the Statement of Appointments (i.e., form 2271s), Termination Notices, and Annual Payback Activities Certifications (APACs) that are received through the mail or electronically. 

The payback component includes a concise summary of payback service owed, overall account status (i.e., closed, open, hold, etc.), important dates, and other such useful information. Also available are itemized lists of appointments, APACs, mail history, status change history, and other detail information.

See also X-Train.

Training Advisory Committee (TAC)

A group that reviews and makes recommendations to the NIH deputy director for extramural research on policies, procedures, and operations of NIH extramural training and career development programs.


The fourth phase of Rational Unified Process (RUP) in which the software is turned over to the user community.

Type 1

Application type: a new application.

Contract transaction type: new contract.

Type 2

Application type: A competing continuation (a.k.a. renewal, recompeting) application.

Contract transaction type: renewal.

Type 3

Application type: An application for additional (supplemental) support.

Contract transaction type: modification.

Type 4

Application type: An application for additional support beyond that previously recommended.

Contract transaction type: letter contract.

Type 5

Application type: Non-competing grant application; sometimes referred to as a progress report.

Contract transaction type: Continuation of an incrementally (typically, in one-year increments) funded contract.

Type 6

Contract transaction type: Task orders and subsequent modifications relating to existing ordering agreements.

Type 7

Application type: A change of grantee institution for an application.

Contract transaction type: Exercise of option.

Type 9

Application type: A change of NIH awarding institute or division (competing continuation) for an application.


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See User Administration.


See Unified Modeling Language.

Unified Modeling Language (UML)

UML is an industry-standard language for "specifying, visualizing, constructing, and documenting the artifacts of software systems." It simplifies the complex process of software design by creating a "blueprint for construction" (see http://www.rational.com/uml/index.jsp). See Rational Unified Process.

Uniform Resource Locator or Universal Resource Locator (URL)

The address of a computer or a document on the Internet that consists of a communications protocol followed by a colon and two slashes (as http://), the identifier of a computer (as www.m-w.com) and usually a path through a directory to a file. 


See Uniform Resource Locator.

Use Case

A description of system behavior in the Rational Unified Process (RUP), in terms of sequences of actions. A use case should yield an observable result of value to an actor. A use case contains all alternate flows of events related to producing the “observable result of value.”

  • Level 1: Also known as a Use Case Model Survey in the RUP. Use case names are enumerated with each name representing an actor goal; actor names are enumerated.
  • Level 2: Brief description of major scenarios in the use case; summary of the major flow of events.
  • Level 3: All major scenarios are defined through the basic flow and essential alternative flows.
  • Level 4: All significant scenarios defined through the basic flow, essential and exceptional alternative flows; all special requirements are defined.

User Administration (UA)

User Administration (UA) is an eRA module used by the NIH Technical Coordinator community creating and maintaining user accounts and granting access, by role, to internal modules.

User Group

An eRA group that brings together actual users of a module and its Functional Group so the users can contribute their perspectives to the development process.


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The systematic check of applications against the NIH application guide and Funding Opportunity Announcement instructions. The process can generate errors or warnings.

Virtual Organizational Layers (VOL)

The organizational hierarchy is sometimes referred to as Virtual Organizational Layers (VOLs). See Organizational Hierarchy.


Virtual Organizational Layer. See Organizational Hierarchy.


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Warning characterizes any condition in the grant application that is acceptable but worthy of bringing to the applicant's attention. It is left to the applicant's discretion to take any corrective action. The application goes forward even if the warnings are not corrected.

Web Query Tool (WebQT)

Web Query Tool (WebQT) is an internal eRA module that assists novice users in searching the eRA database and retrieving, formatting, and downloading data and documents. WebQT eventually will replace older eRA query applications, such as QuickView, ICSTORe, and later, CRISP Plus.

WebQT is a business support system designed to provide a simple and intuitive method for running queries against the eRA on-line transaction processing (OLTP) production database. WebQT provides search parameters, data viewing, printing, and exporting options that are familiar to most of the extramural community. In eRA, queries and data that are of interest to only one business-area community are handled by the specific module for that area (e.g., Peer Review, Program, and Grants Management). Generic features of WebQT, such as the ability to customize and download or print a hit list, will be incorporated in all business area applications over time via the QT Engine.

See also Query Tool Engine.


See Web Query Tool.

Withdrawn application

Applicant requests that his/her application not be considered for review/award.


Workflow is an important eRA infrastructure initiative. There is increased need to route documents and notifications between business systems with end-to-end processing, especially with the advent of electronically submitted grant applications. There is also a need for a system to alert users when certain grant-related events occur, to facilitate notifications, to allow staff to register (and un-register) for user-selected events and mail according to user-specified rules. There is a need for a system that will provide users with ability to define flexible organizational structures for supervisory oversight, security, delegation of authority, directing of business flow activities, supervisory approvals and maintaining hierarchies independent from an existing organizational structure.

The proposed Workflow system will: provide a flexible common infrastructure capable of handling a multitude of business workflow tasks; allow for quick adapting to changing workloads; provide a complete set of user-friendly tools that help ensure high data quality and integrity of the grant process; facilitate notifications between and within business areas; and alert staff when certain grant-related events occur.


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An eRA Commons electronic training activities system that allows program directors and trainees from institutions with National Research Service Award training grants to transmit confidential personal data electronically to the NIH.

X-Train allows Program Directors of training grants to appoint and reappoint trainees to training grants. It also will be used to process terminations of trainees from the grants as well. Once appointments and terminations are received electronically via X-Train, internal staff at the granting organization receives an email alert and uses the eRA TA module to process the appointment or termination. eRA is planning to merge the functionality of TA and X-Train into an integrated end-to-end electronic process.

See also Training Activities.


See eXtensible Markup Language.


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